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09th Dec 2016

Tony Pulis’ view of James McClean is what every player wants to hear from their manager

"The perception of him outside the club is different to what people inside the club who know him well think"

Robert Redmond

James McClean could receive a hostile reception on Sunday afternoon, and his manager wants him to keep his cool after tempers boiled over last weekend.

You might argue that the West Brom winger gets a tough time from fans at every opposition ground in England, but Chelsea this Sunday might just be that little bit more hostile.

McClean scored a late equaliser in this fixture last season, and wasn’t shy about celebrating in front of the crowd at Stamford Bridge.


Or putting it up to the Chelsea players.

Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League

The Derry winger isn’t a fan favourite among some sections of away fans in England over his refusal to wear the Remembrance Day poppy.

McClean is perfectly entitled to do so, and express his political views, but they certainly wouldn’t be shared by a large section of Chelsea supporters.

Ironically, a former Chelsea scout first identified McClean and recommended him to Sunderland back in 2011.

Ahead of Sunday’s game, Tony Pulis has praised McClean, but also recognised that the 27-year-old needs to try keep his cool during games.

West Bromwich Albion v Watford - Premier League

The winger was booked his part in a melee last week during West Brom’s 3-1 win over Watford at the Hawthorns.

Watford players were unhappy with McClean’s challenge on Roberto Pereyra, who was sent-off, and both clubs were charged by the FA with failing to control their players.

Pulis revealed on Friday that he has spoken with McClean about his part in the dispute, but backed his player and praised his contribution to the club.

The West Brom manager’s view of McClean is surely what every player wants to hear from their manager.

Pulis praises McClean as a player and a person, but also recognised an area of his game where he can improve, and does so without being in any way critical of the winger.

“I think James has got to control himself and he understands that,” Pulis said.

“Sometimes he does live on the edge but that’s the player he is and the person he is. He’s a fantastic lad and he’s competitive, and you want him to be, but he’s got to realise there is a line that you draw and sometimes he goes very close to that line.

“I’ve spoken to him quite a few times about getting too close to that line.

“As I keep saying, he’s a fantastic lad and a good lad around the place. The perception of him outside the club is different to what people inside the club who know him well think.”